When asked whether she plans to take medication to lower her levels of testosterone, Caster Semenya said, "Hell no."
Three-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya won the women's 800 meters in 1:54.98 on Friday at the Doha Diamond League meet.
The race was potentially her last at the two-lap distance unless she starts taking medication to reduce her naturally-high levels of testosterone, which Semenya would need to do to comply with the International Association of Athletics Federation's new rule for athletes with differences in sex development.
Semenya stayed on pacer Noelie Yarigo's heels and hit the 400-meter mark in 56.66 on Friday. She was in the lead by 600 meters in 1:26.56 and pulled away in familiar fashion in the final 100 meters to record her 29th consecutive 800-meter final victory since the start of the 2016 season.
"I'm excited winning here in Doha," Semenya said after the race. "The first race of the season is tough and you may not be able to predict how your body is going to respond to the push but the weather is great and it was wonderful tonight. For me, I believe nothing is hard in life because it is up to you how you take life. As an athlete, I believe in sportsmanship and what sports teach you is to keep pushing on despite all odds. I know life could be difficult at times but I'm a believer and I believe there is always a way to resolve issues. One of my firm belief is that there is always a way out for everything. So if a wall is placed in front of me, I jump it. I'm going to keep enjoying my life and live it. I will keep on training and running. To me, impossibility is nothing."
On Wednesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced the decision to uphold the IAAF's rule as a “necessary, reasonable and proportionate means” of protecting the fairness of women's competition in sport. No athlete will be forced to start taking medication but under the new rules, athletes with differences of sexual development will have to undergo a blood test on May 8 to monitor their eligibility for the IAAF World Championships in September or 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The IAAF policy will come into effect on May 8 and will impact athletes competing in track events from 400 meters to the mile.
Friday's race also featured Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, who recently revealed that she also has a natural testosterone condition. She finished second in 1:57.75. American Ajee Wilson was third in 1:58.83.
After the race, Semenya was asked by the Daily Mail's Riath Al-Samarrai whether she plans to take medication to comply with the IAAF's regulations and she said, "Hell no."
BBC's Ade Adedoyin was told by Semenya that she has no plans to retire and plans to compete at the IAAF World Championships in September. If she does not take medication to lower her high levels of testosterone, she would have to compete in the women's 5,000 meters at the world championships. She competed and won the 5,000 meters at the South African national championships over the weekend in 16:05.07 at altitude. She would need to run 15:10.00 or faster to qualify for the event at the 2020 Summer Games.
However, Semenya told reporters in Doha that she will not run the distance again and it was just part of her base training. Semenya said she plans to defend her 800-meter title in September despite the ruling and told reporters, "No man can tell me what to do."
Semenya's legal team has yet to announce whether she will appeal the decision by CAS.